Nota bene: Spoilers included.
When I first mentioned that I was going to see the new movie, Inception, this weekend, a friend asked me to let her know what I thought. Well, it was a thrill ride of spectacle, tightly-woven and engrossing. Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page were great. So was Marion Cotillard. But, in the end, it failed. And all because the writer of the screenplay, Christopher Nolan, neglected to ask himself one question: "What happens when you wake up from a dream with a sudden brainstorm that goes against your every instinct of good business and self-preservation?"
I don't know about you, but if I woke up after a cross-country plane trip to accompany my father's body to its final disposition with the sudden idea that I should dissolve the global corporation he'd spent his life building and had entrusted to me, I'd think, "I need a vacation," or wonder if the drink I'd had a sip of before falling asleep had been spiked. I wouldn't think, "Great idea! Why didn't I think of that before?" Especially if I'd had military mind-training to protect my subconscious from invaders.
It's not like Nolan couldn't have salvaged the story had he checked it sufficiently for weaknesses. Nolan could have addressed the problem of what happens if The Heir wakes up, realizes the inception is not in his best interests, and dismisses the idea (as people do all the time with ideas once they begin to test the idea against reality).
Or, as my brother suggested during our post-viewing critique of the film, Nolan could have added yet one more layer: Perhaps this could all have been a scheme to extract the inception technology from DiCaprio's character, Dom Cobb—which could have explained the weaknesses in the mission Cobb was given, especially if The Heir turned out to be the extractor. But, left as is, the holes threaten to sink the movie if viewers notice the leaks of logic.
To switch metaphors, in the end, Inception is like a Jenga tower. Either the viewer marvels at how it is constructed and remains standing in spite of overwhelming odds ... or the viewer pulls the weak block from the structure and the whole thing collapses.
(Image: Woman with remote control and popcorn, Pixabay.)